Please welcome STANT LITORE to BOOKHOUNDS!
1. What is the first book you remember reading by yourself as a child?
My clearest memory is of Charlotte’s Web, but I know that before that I checked out a picture book from the library and read it in five minutes and wanted another book. The librarian told me I had to wait two weeks. I started weeping right there at the desk. My parents showed up and had it out with the man in his office, and it sounded as though God and all his Archangels had shown up to take humanity to task. When the librarian emerged, his face had no color or blood in it. After that I was allowed to read everything I wanted. I should add to this story that all the librarians I have met since have been either saints or heroes, though none of them wore capes. Although one did wear a mask. Long story.
2. What are you reading right now?
On Blue’s Waters by Gene Wolfe. It is among the most lyrical and poignant novels I have ever encountered, and this is my second time reading it. If you haven’t read Gene Wolfe, I recommend that strenuous and rewarding activity. His mind is a maze and his heart is a deep well.
3. How does your garden grow?
It takes sunlight and rain and a soft voice singing. My wife’s garden, really, though I wish I had more time to spend with my hands in the dark earth—and intend to make the time next year. Herbs, thyme and rosemary, a tomato plant, some hydrangeas. We recently released ladybugs on the garden in great number, and my toddler leapt up and down clapping her hands and crying out, “Little ladybug! Little ladybug!”
4. What is the last thing you Googled?
The Maccabees. I wanted to know where the name came from, what it meant. I’m a history buff, through and through. Best guess: from Aramaic, the Makkaba. The Hammer. If I was riled up and starting a revolt, I would want to be called the Makkaba, too.
5. What makes you cringe?
Political theater. I am not interested in rooting for a team or looking at who performs well on a televised debate. I want to see numbers, I want to see facts, and I want to hear the truest story the man or woman has to tell about my country. Performance is for the circus or for a novel, not for politics. Politics treated as entertainment makes me cringe. Also jellyfish. Jellyfish are among the most beautiful things I have ever seen yet they terrify me. I cringe whenever I see one in motion. I would like to say that I cringe at zombies, given the subject of my novels, but I don’t. Confronted with a film full of the wandering dead, my reaction is more deer-in-headlights than anything else. I take the edge off the terror by writing a few scenes. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself. I recently listened to the audiobook edition of one of my novels, and found it almost unbearably creepy. Apparently writing about it makes the fear worse, but also more exciting.
My wife cringes at spiders but I find them graceful and lovely. So when it comes to cringing, I suppose it’s just political commercials and jellyfish.
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